Two of Birmingham’s leading charities – Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer (LFBC) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) Charity – are improving Breast Cancer services in the city, with the arrival of their jointly-funded mobile mammogram unit.
Purchased by the two charities as part of their £1 Million Appeal, which was launched by Lord Digby Jones in 2013, the new mobile mammogram unit has arrived at Broad Meadow Heath Centre in Kings Norton.
This screening facility cost £250,000 and boasts leading x-ray facilities that will be used by up to 62 women a day, helping to not only detect Breast Cancer earlier but also promote self-examination in the local community.
“Today is such a fantastic day for not only our two charities, but Birmingham’s local communities! This new mobile mammogram trailer enables the QE Hospital to take their screening out into local areas like Kings Norton and ensure that women are attending their appointments. There are so many reasons that people might not attend, from geography and time restraints through to just plain old fear, but research shows just how important it is to get checked and find these things as early as possible. This screening unit helps make it as convenient as possible for people but also remove some of that fear,” said Veronica Kumeta, co- founder of LFBC. Both LFBC and QEHB Charity pride themselves on delivering services beyond the means of the NHS and this unit is no different. Its pink exterior makes it the first of its kind in the UK, moving away from the typically cold and sterile screening units, with a welcoming relaxation area complete with a top spec interior, private consultation room, and dual changing rooms.
Mike Hammond, Chief Executive of QEHB Charity, said: “Attending hospital can be quite daunting for many people, which is why we’re so pleased to be able to help make it easier than ever for local women to be screened out in their neighbourhoods rather than having to travel to the QE. I want to thank everyone who donated to our appeal; the mobile mammogram is a hugely valuable addition that will make a massive difference to the community.”
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with 1 in 8 women expected to be diagnosed in their lifetime. Around 50,000 women are diagnosed each year and 12,000 die from the disease, however, the good news is that research and treatments are increasing survival rates every year. LFBC was established in 2000 by a group of local volunteers from the Birmingham area with the aim to raise funds and awareness of the disease. It is the UK’s only regional charity for Breast Cancer and all money raised by the charity stays in the region, more specifically a 70-mile radius of the QE Hospital.
“I first started LFBC with my friend Sue after our mutual friend Carol was diagnosed. We wanted to do something to help Carol and we started raising money for the QE Hospital to ensure that Carol, and women and men just like her, were receiving the best possible treatments. Unfortunately I lost Carol – and later Sue – to Breast Cancer but with the help of friends and colleagues continued to raise money for regional cancer services. Over the course of 13 years, LFBC funded over £1 million worth of equipment that the NHS couldn’t afford, and now that we’ve created what is considered a ‘centre of excellence’, we have been working with QEHB Charity on what we call ‘soft services’. This is all about getting out into the community and working with people at all stages of Breast Cancer diagnosis to signpost support services and help bridge funding gaps. I am truly delighted that we’ve been able to fund a second mobile mammogram unit, and I hope that everyone who receives their mammogram letter attends their appointment,” Veronica continued.